Alpha Rises

The best camera is the one with you—and that proved true tonight with Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. As I walked down Monroe Ave. in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, something odd caught my attention in the sky.

I spent too much time trying to make sense of the oddity and as such missed the best shot—of continuous cloud trail. I mistakenly thought that the setting sun illuminated the exhaust of an airplane. Then the notion clicked, examining the trailing bloom, that I watched a rocket launch in the far distance.

Based on RocketLaunch.Live and X (formerly Twitter) posts, I observed Firefly Aerospace Alpha, which was scheduled for 7:27 p.m. PDT liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base, which is a 450-km (280-mile) north-coastal drive from my apartment. Timestamp on the Featured Image is 7:31 p.m.

Photo vitals: f/2.4, ISO 1600, 1/30 sec, 70mm (film equivalent).